Help a new guy.... 1st Year Business Plan.


New member
Please don't bash if my questions sound like a newbie, because I'm still learning! I'm a 10-year long landscaper, whom did some power washing on the side. However, I'm now switching to power washing full time. As of right now, I'm only working with a (4) gpm / 4,200 psi machine, 20" surface cleaner, an x-jet, j-rod, 200' of hose, 200' commercial 5/8 water hose, (2) 200' hose reels on the truck, and chemicals. Below I'm going to list an outline, please remember, this is a BASIC outline, I'm going to try and keep it brief for you, but please let me know how far off I am, if my goals are un-relistic, or any suggestions.

Identifying my target audience: I plan to start out doing residential, focusing on House Washes and Driveway/Sidewalk Cleaning. I live in an area where HOA's are VERY STRICT. Meaning dirty driveways, sidewalks, houses, and gutters are fined frequently. The average median income in my area, is $120,000 a year. With the population makeup being 40% white / 40% Asian / 10% Hispanic / 5% African-American / 5% other. The population is mostly made up of Caucasians in Technology or Business, and Asians in Technology. I've noticed a trend over 10 years of landscaping, I got a high response rate from Asians on cleaning and yard work, as they tend to not do much outdoor things, and like to keep things tidy.

Marketing: I will be starting off my business by building a website which is in progress, a social media facebook page, and a Google Review page. I will then proceed by distributing flyers to targeted neighborhoods biased on disposable income. Starting out small, I will be distributing flyers on Monday and Tuesday, 600 each day, from sun-up until dark, for a total of 1,200 flyers a week. Most importantly, all flyers are professionally written to a Professional Copy Writers standards using market research. They are not generic flyers with a "Business name and logo." Instead, they are attention getting, and according to input I've received, they are very influential. Using flyers for landscaping, I have ALWAYS received between a 2 and 5% response rate using similar materials. I always calculate the worse case scenario however, and only predict a 1% response rate. Meaning for distributing 1,200 flyers, the lest amount of calls I would expect is 12 calls. Receiving a minimum of 12 calls, I expect to close on 8 sales. I've proven to close on a higher rate previously, but again, this is worse case scenario.

Operation: Starting small with 4gpm machine, and being realistic, I'll be distributing flyers Monday and Tuesday, and plan to wash Wednesday through Saturday (my first year only.) I'm mostly targeting 1-story neighborhoods, but will also market to the smaller 2-story neighborhoods. I'm calculating that I should be able to do (2) house washes a day using a 4 gpm machine. My marketing material is offering a special for combining a House-Wash with a Driveway and Sidewalk Cleaning. My smallest 1-story house / small driveway subdivision is priced at $269.00. Leaving me with a total of $540.00 a day net. This is only doing (2) house washes a day, leaving me with time to do a thorough job.

Operation 2nd Part: While I'm set-up for down streaming with the j-rod, I will be using my x-jet for the first year. The j-rod would obviously be efficient, but being a new guy, and having experimented with both, the x-jet allows me better control over my mix rate going to the wall. As mentioned, I plan to only start doing two houses a day, so this should be plenty efficient, but better yet should allow me to accomplish stellar results for a beginner, helping me receive repeat business in the long run. Instead of (5) gallon buckets, I've made the x-jet more efficient. Instead of using (5) gallon buckets that quickly run dry, and having to refill, I purchased (2) 15 Gallon Coolers on wheels. I drilled a whole in the lids, ran the x-jet hose through, put a spring clamp on the inside to hold the hose in place, and attached the strainer. I make both mixes in the morning before leaving the house. Meaning all I have to do is pull up, drag two hoses off the reel, hook up the water supply, start my machine, and grab my cooler. (15) gallons in each cooler gives me enough to cover most houses thoroughly.

Chemical Mix: My 15 gallon chemical batch for house washes includes: 8 Gallons of Water, 7 Gallons of 12.5 SH, to 10 ounces of Roof Snot. This mix cost me an average of $14.65 for a one-story house.

Business Expenses: Excluding tax, my main expenses are Truck Fuel ($120.00 Week) , Machine Fuel ($55.00 week), Chemicals ($117.00), Marketing Material. (1,200 Flyers at $25.00 week), And additional fittings, and needed accessories at ($100.00 Week.) Excluding taxes, my operational expenses will be around $417.00 per week.

Profit: My goal for my first year is (8) House-Washes a week solo, I plan or hope to up-sell most on the combo package. Small One Stories are priced at $199.00 and $99.00 for driveway/sidewalks (Small Driveways) we're in an extremely urban area. I plan to do a combo package starting at $269.00 x 2 a day x 4 days a week. Leaving me with a total net excluding tax of $2,152.00 per week. Subtracting my $417.00 a week operational expenses, I should be profiting $1,735.00 per week excluding taxes. I'm shooting for 36 work weeks my first year (I live in a very hot area, with very mild winters.) Stretching my 36 week profit over 52 weeks a year, this should leave me with an annual profit of $62,000 before tax.

Long Term or End of the Year Goal: If business takes off this year, I plan to purchase an 8 GPM Skid, 150 Gal. Buffer Tank, and mount on my flat-bed truck without having to pull a trailer. By doing so, I plan to increase my productivity to (3) houses a day, and eliminate walking flyers. I'll then plan to use EDDM to send out 2,000 flyers a week, and hopefully book up 3 jobs a day, 5 days a week. My expenses will be double what they currently are, but my net will also double.

Someone that's been in the business for a while, please let me know if my plan or numbers sound about right. I know they aren't perfect, but I'm trying to get as close as I can to real world conditions. I've got my equipment situated, and my marketing material should be delivered next week, along with my website, FB page, and Google Review page being set-up by next week. Tomorrow I'm headed to pick up my DBA and Insurance, and hoping to be rolling as soon as late next week! As I mentioned, I know I may be a tad off, but I'm looking to hear some help and opinions from you seasoned and experienced!

Doug Rucker

Roundtable Host 2009
Well thought out and looks good but I personally think your pricing is a little low...$269.00 for a HW and DW? Also I think you should rethink the xjetting vs down streaming as the xjetting I think will take you longer than you think. Also your mix ratio for xjetting is to strong and may cause you some plant issues. Especially in the hotter months here.

Very cool to see how well thought out and attention to detail on the biz planning though.


New member
Thanks for the welcoming Ron and thanks for the valuable input Doug, exactly the kind of input I was looking to hear!

Doug, you're in my area, if you want to go a little further in dept with pricing so I don't shoot myself in the foot, it would be greatly appreciated. I really don't want to be the cheap guy on the block, and I don't want to be the highest on the block starting off. My ears are open, if you can point me in the right direction. Believe me, I did try and do further research on pricing in the area, but the sites that list average prices are all over the board. Craigslist is obviously no help. And I can't find too many people talking about rates on yelp or google reviews for any local companies. But again, I don't want to shoot myself in the foot.

As far as the mix ratio an the x-jet. I think you're probably right, Down Streaming will be much faster, and in the long run I can see myself switching over. However, in the learning phase, I want to start off with the x-jet as I think I will get more predictable results for being a new guy. I also tested out my chem mix ratio on my personal house, and practice on a relatives adjusting it. My plan was to water down the landscape and grass alongside the houses before and after. However, again, my ears are sure open if you have any recommended mixes, I'm sure down to save money on chemicals. In reality, I can see where your coming from, the x-jet puts a high rate of chem out, but my question to you is your statement baised on running the x-jet straight, or with proportionals? I tested my mix out, and it performed or seemed about perfect for killing the algae on my house. However, I probably should add that running the mentioned mix, I am running the 10:1 and 16:1 proportionals on the x-jet currently. Would my mix still be too hot, even running the 16:1 proportion-er? If so, would (6) Gallons of 12.5% SH, (8) Gallons of H2o, and 10 ounces of Roof Snot sound more appropriate? If so, that will save me some money on chem cost on my expenses.

And let's touch back to pricing one more time. Please don't let me shoot myself in the foot! Does this sound any closer on pricing? Because again, I don't want to be the low guy on the street. I learned my lesson about the closed mouth not getting fed.

Average 1 Story Homes - $249.00
Average 1 Story Drive / Sidewalks - $109.00
Combo Package - $329?

Average 2 Story Homes - $299.00
Average 2 Story Driveway / Sidewalks - $139.00
Combo Package - $399?

I'm also wondering if income and how affluent the area is will depend on the going rate? A lot of people that have been in the same area all their lives fail to realize how much variance there is in service rates depending on external factories such as affluence, race, and income of an area. I personally learned this the hard way, after starting a service business in two states outside of Texas. It really does vary a lot. But what made me think of this is seeing where you are working. It looks like you're working in an area (The Woodlands) that would no doubt command a higher going rate than a lot of other areas in Houston.

Doug Rucker

Roundtable Host 2009
My x jet comment was based on not using a proportioner....the instructions I believe state if you using bleach for house washing not to use one. So I never have. But if you are then you may be ok. Just at the mix you mention in the OP would be close to a 50/50 mix, which would be deadly to plants. Your pricing look's better after adjustment...that's about where are on those size homes but we really don't go after them much anymore. Use to be we could get that price, on some we still can, but the weekend warriors are out there that will do them for 200-250 for everything. I think if you can some and get your craft and technique honed down pretty quick you'll be able to go after the larger homes. I'm based in Kingwood, but we rarely do anything here, and mainly have a few great repeats in The Woodlands, most of our residential work are in higher end homes, gated communities, etc and we are all over the map. Houston has changed quite a bit over the last 5-6 years with so many getting into the business and doing work for way less than they could get. But hey people got to eat and I get that.

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